The 2010 Big West Women's Basketball Tournament championship game is set as #1 UC Davis and #3 UC Riverside will meet for the tournament crown and NCAA Tournament automatic berth.
Top-seeded UC Davis Advances to Big West Title Game with Win Over #5 UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis closed out the first semifinal game of the Big West Women’s Tournament on a 10-2 run to defeat UC Santa Barbara, 63-53, on Friday afternoon to advance to the championship game tomorrow at the Anaheim Convention Center.
No. 1 UC Davis (21-9) will play the winner of No. 2 Cal Poly or No. 3 UC Riverside on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised live on FSN Prime Ticket.
The Aggies were led by Paige Mintun who scored 15 points, Haylee Donaghe with 12, and Heidi Heintz and Kasey Riecks each with 10 points apiece.
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (15-17) received a great effort from Meagan Williams who had a game-high of 17 points on 8 of 13 shooting, six rebounds and three steals. Mekia Valentine had a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Jordan Franey added seven points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the loss, UCSB outrebounded UC Davis, 50-22. Their undoing came courtesy of too many turnovers. The Gauchos committed 29 turnovers to just 12 by the Aggies.
Leading 53-51 with 3:13 left in the ball game, Donaghe made a difficult layup in traffic to give UC Davis a four-point lead. A couple possessions later, she added a layup off a nice pass from Hana Asano to give the Gauchos an eight-point cushion, 59-51, with 1:18 remaining. Donaghe iced the game with two more free throws in the waning seconds as UC Davis clinched a spot in the championship game.
The first half began with each team trading punches and trying to get the upper hand. UC Davis broke free and took a 14-8 lead on a layup from Samantha Meggison at the 14:10 mark.
The Gaucho’s Emilie Johnson made two three-pointers and scored all eight of her points as UCSB went on a 12-7 run to climb within one point of the Aggies, 21-20, with 6:24 remaining.
UC Davis came right back and over the final six minutes of the first half went on a 17-4 run to take a commanding 38-24 lead into the break. The run was jump-started on a three-point shot made by Lauren Juric and finished with a three-point shot by a wide-open Riecks with a second left in the half.
Heintz had two layups for scores off two Aggie turnovers on back-to-back possessions that helped fuel the Gauchos in their emphatic run to take a 14-point lead into intermission.
After committing 19 turnovers in the first half alone and finding themselves in a 14-pt halftime deficit, UCSB played fundamental basketball and fought back into the game. Three-pointers from Franey and Chris Spencer followed by a ball-line steal and layup from Williams brought the Gauchos to within seven points, 46-39, with 10:49 left in the game.
The Aggies reclaimed a 53-42 advantage only to see the Gauchos fight back once more. Ariana Gnekow's three-pointer from the top of the key and another subsequent steal and layup by Williams capped off a 9-0 run to bring UCSB to within two points, 53-51, with 3:13 remaining in the second half.
Donaghe then took over the game and led the Aggies to their second berth in a Big West final. They are looking for their first title.
UC Davis won all three contests versus UC Santa Santa Barbara this year and this marks the first time since 1996 that UCSB will not advance to the Big West Tournament title game.
#3 UC Riverside Holds off #2 Cal Poly for Big West Title Game Berth
UC Riverside denied Cal Poly a second straight Big West championship appearance by defeating the Mustangs, 54-51, on Friday afternoon to advance to the women’s championship game tomorrow at the Anaheim Convention Center.
No. 3 UC Riverside (16-15) will play No. 1 UC Davis (21-9) on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The game will be televised live on FSN Prime Ticket.
The Highlanders were led by Brittany Waddell’s 12 points. Teammates Amber Cox and Rheya Neabors each scored 11 points to help pace the Riverside offense. Neabors also had team-highs of seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Rachel Clancy recorded a double-double with game-highs of 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 2 Cal Poly (18-11). Kristina Santiago scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Mustangs.
Despite shooting only 35% for the game (20-58), UC Riverside prevailed in a defensive-minded game. Cal Poly shot an impressive 46% from the field (21-46) in the loss.
Tied at 44 with seven minutes remaining in the game, the Highlanders scored eight consecutive points to take a 52-44 advantage. Waddell’s 18’6” jumper from the top of the key with two minutes left capped off the 8-0 run and catapulted them into the championship game.
Clancy’s layup with 1:44 left cut the Highlander lead to six but Waddell made two crucial free throws to push the lead back to eight points, 54-46. Clancy made a three-pointer and Santiago converted a layup with 35 seconds left for the final scoring of the afternoon.
But it wasn’t over just yet. UC Riverside then turned the ball over with under 10 seconds remaining in the game. The loose ball was retrieved by Cal Poly who came down looking for the game-tying shot. Brittany Lange had a great look at the basket but her three-point shot from the top of the key was just off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
Holding a slim 9-7 early advantage, Cal Poly went on a 10-0 run and raced out to a 19-7 lead 10 minutes into the game. Four different Lady Mustangs scored in that run, including back-to-back three-pointers from Clancy and Christine Martin.
Trailing 24-13 with six minutes remaining in the first half, the Highlanders wouldn’t back down and came roaring back courtesy of a 15-2 run that gave them the lead at 28-26. It was their first lead since leading 5-4 at the outset of the game.
UC Riverside held the Mustangs without a field goal for over seven minutes. Cox made two three-pointers in the comeback.
The Highlanders relentless hustle for loose balls and offensive rebounds (9) helped change the momentum in the game.
Clancy’s 10-ft baseline jumper with 18 seconds left broke the scoring drought for Cal Poly and tied the game at 28 heading into halftime.
Determined to advance to the final round, UC Riverside scored the first six points of the second half. They increased their advantage to 44-34 behind the stellar play of Cox who hit another one of her three three-pointers on the day and added a layup as well.
This time a resilient Cal Poly squad fought back and tied the game at 44 when Lange converted a layup and a free throw off an offensive rebound to complete a three-point play with 7:04 left in the game. Lange also nailed a three-pointer during the 10-0 Mustang run.
UC Riverside had the last word with their 8-0 run to capture the victory and advance to the Big West finals as they look to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. UC Davis will be looking for their first ticket to the NCAA Tournament and a program-defining win.